Luna Barefoot Sandals: Gear ReviewFebruary 12, 2013 • By Matthew Karsten
Review: Luna Sandals
I’ve been traveling with a pair of Luna barefoot sandals for over a year now, wearing them for running, hiking, and everyday use. This is my review.
For the majority of history, humans have not needed sneakers. In fact they’ve only been in use for the past 70 years. It’s a modern product created to solve a problem that never really existed.
Research is starting to show that heavy over-padded footware actually helps contribute to shin splints, knee injuries, and back problems. Luna Sandals offer a fantastic lightweight & minimalist alternative to running sneakers.
The Barefoot Movement
You may or may not already know about the barefoot running movement. But it’s really taken off in the last 5 years. People from all over the world are re-discovering the benefits of running with minimal footware (or none at all).
What are the benefits? More efficient movement and less injury.
A barefoot shoe or sandal is one with very little padding on the sole. This enables you to feel the ground while strengthening and toughening up the foot.
Without extra padding in the heel, we’re able to run naturally. The way we were made to. Striking the ground with the ball of our foot rather than the heel.
So I got into the action a few years ago with a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. While I enjoyed the benefits of the Vibrams, they had a smell problem and stood out a bit too much for my tastes. Especially in foreign countries.
Luna Sandals: Why I Like Them
A friend and fellow long-term traveler Richard Garcia recommended I check out a pair of Luna Sandals. They were created by a guy named Barefoot Ted.
He based the design on traditional huarache sandals worn by Mexico’s native Tarahumara people for centuries. You may have read about his journey in the book Born To Run.
I’ve been wearing Lunas for over a year now while traveling through Mexico, Canada, Fiji, Thailand, and the US.
So what do I think of them?
- Incredibly Lightweight: At about 4.5 ounces, Lunas weigh next to nothing. Made with a thin piece of high-tech Vibram rubber sole & a leather strap.
- Easy to Pack: They take up very little room in my backpack.
- Great for Running: The strap system keeps the sandals on my feet very well, letting me run & scramble up rocks without them slipping off.
- Decent in Water: While not ideal for walking long distances in water, they work great for most water activities like kayaking, rafting, short river crossings, etc.
- Classic Look: Ok, maybe “ancient” is a better term. My sister calls them my Jesus shoes. There are different styles available though.
- No Smell: Because it’s a sandal, I don’t have to worry about sweaty feet.
- Super Comfortable: Once they wear in and mold to the shape of your foot, it really does feel like you’re barefoot.
Very Few Disadvantages
While I really love these sandals, nothing is perfect. Here are some of the issues I’ve found with them.
- Straps Break: About every 3-4 months a leather strap will break in the knot area under my big toe. But this happens with Tarahumara huaraches too. All you need to do is tie a new knot, pull everything tight again, and you’re good to go.
- Cold Weather: Because it’s a sandal, it doesn’t keep my feet warm in colder weather. Which means I carry a pair of shoes with me too. Not that big a deal. I usually want shoes with me for nights on the town or serious hiking trips anyway.
If you’re looking for a comfortable barefoot sandal to provide minimalist protection for your feet while running, walking, or on easy hikes, a pair of Lunas is the way to go. Highly recommended. ★
What’s In My Backpack? View everything here: My Travel Gear
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